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Assessing The Comprehensive Design Studio Course Through Alternate Methods

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Technical Issues in Architectural Engineering I

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

11.244.1 - 11.244.7



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Paper Authors


John Phillips Oklahoma State University

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John Phillips, an assistant professor of architectural engineering, is one of four faculty members teaching in the comprehensive design studio, where his expertise is structural design. He also teaches Analysis I, Foundations, Structures: Timber Steel & Concrete, Steel II, and Steel III courses. Professor Phillips is a registered engineer in the state of Texas, and a structural consultant for Brown Engineering, P.C., in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

“Assessing the Comprehensive Design Studio Course through Alternate Methods”


Course assessment typically consists of the review of a course by the teaching faculty member based on student grades from the course. This process, without additional methods, can lead to a false sense of success in a course, and it becomes necessary to find alternate methods for further assessment.

For the comprehensive design studio course, alternate methods of assessment have been employed. This course is a semester long architectural and engineering design studio where all phases of an architectural design project are covered, from schematic design through design documentation. In addition, the course involves a jury process where practicing architects and engineers attend student presentations twice during the semester at which times the students individually present their projects to the jury. At those times, the jury offers critiques and feedback on the progress of each students design.

An additional source used for assessment in this course is based on information from the jury of practicing professionals that attend the student presentations. The juries assess the students’ performance and compare this assessment to the jury members’ expectations of how they thought the students should have performed. This assessment allows the course professors to evaluate if the end product of the course met the expectations of practicing professionals. For this process, historically the jury members have been given a questionnaire at the end of the semester in which they assess the abilities of the students in respect to the requirements of comprehensive design. This paper will look at the questionnaire presented to the jury members, at the results of the jury assessment for the course, and discuss ways of improving the success of the Comprehensive design studio course based upon this assessment material.


As an instructor in a school of architecture, many of the courses taught are studios, where there are not absolute right or wrong answers to a given problem. There are as many solutions to a problem as there are methods that can be used to teach a studio course, and it is up to the professors to evaluate the effectiveness of these teaching methods to determine which lead to a successful result in the course. Assessing these courses is also a challenge in that it must be accomplished without egos interfering with the results of the assessment. We must be able to determine if the results of our teaching methods benefits the students, and to what extent. As quoted by Thomas J. Shuell, “It is helpful to remember that what the student does is actually more important in determining what is learned than what the teacher does” 3,4, and we as faculty must keep this in mind when we assess the courses we teach . A typical course utilizes student grades as a tool for assessment, but a studio course must be approached differently, utilizing alternate methods to arrive at the final course assessment. For the comprehensive design studio, there are many facets that the students must be taught, and it is up to the instructors to make sure the students are given the resources to be able to accomplish what is required in the studio.

Phillips, J. (2006, June), Assessing The Comprehensive Design Studio Course Through Alternate Methods Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--845

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